Socially-Distanced Marketing, Strategy, and The Force

Tag: social media (Page 1 of 6)

1200% More Sharing of Your Social Media Content: Plus Other Tips for Your Credit Union

Your credit union is already on social media. And it rocks, right? No? So what’s missing?

To clarify, social media is not an end upon itself. It’s part of a larger strategy. For that, you need to be looking at your overall Inbound Marketing plan. So how does social media fit in? Now you’re asking the right questions!

This article will help you decide which channels make the most sense, why video is so important, and how much you have to put in for results to follow (less than you think!).

Clapper

I’ll also assume you already have a buyer persona, as this helps you visualize who you’re actually looking to engage.

Why Use Social Media?

In your personal life, social media helps stay in touch with friends and family. Perhaps you get some of your news through it (you wouldn’t be alone; just make sure to fact-check anything you read). You may even follow brands you love for deals and updates.

Hey, wait a second…your credit union is a brand!

Whether personal or business, social media has the same goals:

  • Sharing content your followers care about
  • Inform them and inspire action

Admit it, you swipe past boring posts. Imagine how many miles your finger has swiped…

Ok, so what’s the point of social media? This is going to sound really silly:

  • Sharing media to encourage a social connection

Let’s keep that objective in mind as we look to your credit union’s social presence. We’ll cover:

  • Social media demographics
  • Management tools
  • Importance of video

The objective is to create strong Organic Social Media Marketing. Want to spend money on paid social media marketing? That’s great. It might make sense. We’re not covering it here.

What is Organic Social Media Marketing?

Great question. Organic Social Media Marketing is a way of connecting with customers and potential ones through direct content engagement. In other words, this includes your posts, memes, GIFs, tweets, videos, blogs, and more.

The “organic” part means it’s non-promotional, as in, you didn’t pay to “boost” or sponsor any of it (not to say you won’t or can’t). It can have promotional messaging, but you didn’t pay to get it on their screens.

Organic and paid social media marketing are two sides of the same effort. But unless you like handing your marketing budget over to Facebook with little to show for it, organic is where you want to start.

Who Uses Social Media, Anyway?

In a word, everyone.

People Interconnected

73% of American adults use YouTube. 69% use Facebook. 74% of them sign in every day (myself included). 37% use Instagram. Other platforms include Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter, respectively by usage.

Sidenote: Just because people use a platform doesn’t mean it’s where you should be! Ok, I wanted to get that out before you ran for the nearest post button.

Social media is everywhere. At the coffee shop? Sip, scroll, sip, scroll the Facebook feed. Commuting to work? Check out that Instagram feed (and I sure hope they’re not driving). Out to a work lunch? You know at least one is checking LinkedIn for job offers.

These people are doing more than connecting with friends, celebrities, and job opportunities on social media. They’re also engaging with brands they buy from and admire (or are considering doing business).

Does Your Financial Institution “Do” Social Media?

What’s your social media presence? Do you have accounts on the big three? (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). If you’re not yet a part of that trifecta, you’re part of a shrinking minority: Nearly 9 out of 10 banks are somewhat or very active on social media.

Only a few years ago, engaging with customers and prospects on social media seemed like the new frontier. Today, it’s old hat. Yet not everyone does it well, so it can represent a unique opportunity when you have a plan.

Mastering the art of social media can help you:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Build community
  • Drive engagement
  • Generate new leads
  • Assist customers with issues promptly and personally

In order to meet expanding consumer expectations, brands on social media must ensure they’re abiding by best practices.

How can you do this in an age of literally “blink-and-it’s-gone” content and fleeting attention spans? By answering the right questions ahead of time. Then, when you do post, you engage people how you want to be seen.

Social Media Platforms

Magnifying Glass on Group of People

Where should your financial institution be? It’s a great question and the answer depends on a few things:

  • Who is your target demographic?
  • What devices do you want to target?
  • What kind of content do you want to post?
  • What is your primary brand message?

Demographics by Generation

If you’re looking to connect with and engage Gen Xers and Boomers, skip Snapchat and Tik Tok. Trust me, they’ve never heard of the latter. But their kids or grandkids are on it right now.

Aiming for the Gen Z audience? They’re not heavily represented on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn is great for another field of membership…small businesses. LinkedIn has a high concentration of college-educated, upper management American workers and business owners.

Why care about them? Can anyone say, “small business services”?

Plus, since LinkedIn leans towards B2B, you open another opportunity: New partners for your CU SEG.

Overwhelmed? Ok. Start small with the 3 most popular platforms for financial institutions:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Feeling ambitious and shutter-happy? Add Instagram to the mix.

Demographics by Platform

Here’s a breakdown of the demographics of each social media platform:

  • Facebook: 69% of Americans use Facebook; a majority of virtually every demographic uses the platform, only excluding <18 and >65
  • Twitter: Most popular for people in their 20s (40% of 18-29 year olds use Twitter)
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s user base is pretty evenly spread across ages 18-64 but is most popular with ages 30-49
  • Instagram: Instagram leans toward a younger audience; there’s a dropoff in users once you hit age 30; mostly concentrated on ages 13-29 (Gen Z!)

When you choose platforms, you also need to make sure your content works on it. The way you write for Twitter is different than Facebook posts or articles on LinkedIn. And then there’s video. Which I strongly encourage you embrace. We’ll cover it at the end.

Social Media Management Tools

Wrenches on Wall

Automation that makes sense is where it’s at. You’re busy. Save time and get great insights into the activity, performance, and engagement across all your social channels.

Social media management platforms exist to make your life easier.

Using a social media management tool helps you save time, stay organized, optimize efficiency, keep a pulse on your audience, and respond to comments, complaints, or questions promptly.

Here are a few of the more popular options:

*I use or have used these platforms for social media management

Content Resources

If you’re working with limited resources (and who isn’t?), you can explore free or low-cost tools like Canva (I may receive compensation if you sign up using this link) for graphic design or Biteable and Vyond (formerly GoAnimate) for video creation tools.

None of these are as good as an in-house designer, but you get a lot for the investment.

Sidenote: My company’s eBooks are created using Canva.

Take One: Video

A primer on my company’s Learning Library

Video content is where it’s at. If you’re not recording, you’re missing out. In 2019, 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool. Mobile video consumption doubles every year. Video posts get shared 1200% more often than text and images alone.

See a bunch more mind-blowing video stats.

You don’t need a videographer, studio, and professional equipment. Sure, they help, but you can get far with a phone, tripod, and microphone (lavalier). Modern phone cameras are high-quality, and this also gives your content a homemade and authentic feel.

Since your credit union is about connecting real people, humanizing your video content delivers real value. Make videos which are entertaining, funny, or informative. Even if they’re not great, the only way you’ll learn and improve is to keep pressing record.

We made this at a conference, just because.

Video is only going to get more popular, and it’s rapidly becoming the preferred form of content consumption across all social media platforms.

Hiring The Pros?

Video Camera Set

So when does it make sense to invest in the professional? If you’re creating a brand video to tell your credit union story (please, please, please, don’t spend 75% of the video talking about how you’re a unique community institution), make it memorable.

Spend some money and get it recorded with the perfect lighting, background music, transitions, logo bumpers, and overall feel.

What’s your brand worth? Convey it to current and prospective customers at its clearest and finest.

Start Sharing!

Now that you understand the appeal for each service, you can better decide which makes the most sense. Remember, your resources are limited and it’s 100% ok to not do them all at once. Start where you believe the best return will be.

Oh, and final note: Get everyone involved! Share content from your IT team, your CEO, loan officers, and satisfied members. If your culture is inclusive, show, don’t tell your growing followers!

Blog Management Tools Your Credit Union Can Use [2020]

Originally published on CUInsight.com

It takes more than just some ideas to keep a blog running. (If only!) On this system, there are a series of platforms and services which work together. Let’s discuss each and how they contribute to the overall success.

Then, we’ll look at how you can use these strategies to improve your own blogging and social media efforts.

What? You don’t have a blog or other learning portal for members to access? For the sake of your social and search presence, get started today!

Since that’s part of what my company educates on, I’m here to help!

With so much being done remotely, it’s essential to provide the relationship members expect through your digital channels. And telling stories, sharing updates, or educating on relevant topics all falls into this guidance.

Scheduled Posts

Every so often, typically on Tuesdays, a new post appears (Updated for 2020!). You get a notification, e-mail, tweet, or some other thing, which directs you here. And I am super appreciative that you visit.

Even if it’s just to see if your name is mentioned. Sarah, Steve, Phil, Mohammad, Lorraine, Shanice, Ashley, Qui-Gon…are you a winner? There’s always next time.

No matter what moved you to action, you are here now. Yet what made this post appear? Was I sitting on a device debating when to press Post? Well, yes, I do that, but not in this case.

Airport Flights Screen
Ha, remember when we looked at flight charts and went to airports?

I use the post scheduler to keep a consistent flow of content, even if I happen to be busy at that time. I’m sure you never find yourself suddenly occupied when other obligations are waiting…

Whatever platform you use, it supports scheduled posts. At one point, I had over a year of content scheduled on this blog. That’s back when I was really good at writing and prioritizing. It was also a bit crazy.

The Guts of the System

What’s it like behind the curtains, down the rabbit’s hole, outside the Matrix? To be honest, it’s pretty similar to the world you inhabit.

I just have mad hatters, agents with equally mad martial arts skills, and a reasonably unhappy (did you think I’d say “mad”?) wizard who is not a wizard at all.

Whew, how many references did I even make there? No time to count, we’ve got to talk about the blog platform!

WordPress

To start, Credit Union geek is built using WordPress. More than half the internet uses this platform, and to no big surprise. It’s easy to craft to your needs, quickly, easily, and without a lot of technical knowledge.

Security Concerns

Because WordPress is so widespread, security fixes are released within hours. With a strong password (Also updated for 2020!), a WordPress site is as safe as one could expect online.

I used to use an extension called WordFence, which blocks suspicious activity and also visitors who are likely up to no good. That’s just the surface of its functionality, and I’d at least look at it and similar products before launching.

Wait, used to?

Yes, I no longer keep this plugin going, as I tightened up the security of my site through other means. The reason for the change? Performance impacts.

For maximum performance, go with a platform that does scanning off-server. What that means is your own system doesn’t do the work; it’s passed off. This won’t be free. But it could be reasonably priced.

The other sideswipe here was at slow hosting providers (you know who you are). You can load up a site with all sorts of capabilities, but if the hosting is under par, it’s going to drag. On fast hosting, even a poorly-optimized site flies.

Sharing Content, or, Ensuring You Know It Exists

For sharing, I take a few paths. My goal is to be where you are. If that’s this site, great. Only I cannot expect all of you to come here daily! No one’s stopping you. 🙂 However, to get proper reach, I’ve got to go social!

Twitter

Twitter

The most common is Twitter. When on my computer, I use the Tweetdeck web-app. On my iPad and iPhone, I use Twitterrific. I can follow trending topics (Yes, updated for 2020!), schedule posts, and see all my interactions on one screen.

But what if you’re not on Twitter? Or, even if you are, it’s easy to miss a few posts. In case you didn’t notice, a lot of people use it. And some of them post far too much (often while saying far too little).

Thus, Twitter isn’t my only outreach medium.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

I also share all my posts on LinkedIn using their Article platform. To inform people of their existence, I sometimes post on a variety of credit union-focused LinkedIn groups.

Unfortunately, activity on those groups fell over the years. After watching posts get 0 engagements over the course of months, I pulled away as well. The groups were great, so if you’re ready to come back, I am, too!

Shameless plug: Our company maintains a LinkedIn Group called Credit Unions: Post-COVID-19. Sure, we’re not “post” anything yet, but it’s about looking ahead to plan for what the near and medium-term future will hold.

Anyway, I see LinkedIn as my main area for interaction. Despite not liking their mobile app, I’ve put it back in my phone so I can check notifications and comment on related industry posts.

Do you use LinkedIn, and, if so, for what purposes? (If it’s for finding another job, just say, “Waffle recipes” in the comments. It’ll be our little secret. Also, please share waffle recipes.)

Facebook

Occasionally, I’ll share on Facebook to friends and family. Since this is business-related content, most don’t care. So it’s less common than all other mediums.

If you’re looking to engage with members, you’ll want to use this platform. Why? Because they’re on it. Instagram, too, which Facebook owns and anyone under 35 uses.

E-mail

Of course, readers can easily subscribe and receive new posts by e-mail. Do you? Because it’s the best way to get your dose of Geek.

Software Platforms

I’ve tried a lot of software over the years. Some don’t exist anymore. Others evolved to a point of being more frustration than productive. A few are new entrants I consider carefully.

ActiveCampaign – E-mail & Tracking

For e-mail campaign efforts, I use our company’s CRM platform: ActiveCampaign. These managed messages inform readers of my speaking availability (I’m way cooler in person, once it’s safe to do so again) or new posts.

Hey, there’s always web events!

It’s also a great way to let people know about full rewrite updates like those you see mentioned in this post. Plus, chances are, you weren’t reading back in 2014. Yet I’ve got some good stuff to surface from then!

ActiveCampaign gives me the flexibility to set up automations based on recipient activity, track open rates, and much more. It’s an ongoing process of learning what it can do, then discovering features just added.

Buffer – Social Media Management

Social Media Icons

With my priorities leaning towards our company’s Learning Library, I’ve been lax on use of this system. What is Buffer?

In a few words, it’s a single service to manage all your social media activity. Schedule posts, watch engagement, and much more. It works on desktop and mobile just as easily.

I really like how it lets you set up a bunch of posts, then have it automatically post them on a schedule you define ahead of time. They’ll even suggest best times for engagement on each service.

To explain: I can have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn connected to Buffer. Each has their own posts ready, abiding to individual schedules. It’s all your social activity, on one screen. Pretty cool, right?

Audio Posts

Microphone

When the mood strikes me, I’ll make an audio post. Why not video, you ask? Because the lighting and layout of my office isn’t ideal. I’ve tried. The audio is the better solution right now.

Update: I wrote this section pre-COVID-19. So, I had not given video a chance (without a tripod, that is). Now, I can make standing videos in my living room. You may have seen some of them over the past few months.

Whether video or audio, making recorded content isn’t a huge challenge. I used to use my AirPods as the microphones, but my new Mac has even better microphones. I just open Quicktime or Voice Memos and start talking.

It exports from both as a high-quality m4a file. That’s it!

Web Apps – Everything Else

To be honest, for most activities, I just use the website. Twitter posts? Tweetdeck, since it’s Twitter as it should be (without all the extra garbage).

LinkedIn? The website. It’s not great, but there’s no easier way to browse my feed to find relatable content.

Content creation? I used to use Evernote, but transitioned to Google Drive/Docs in the last year. When copying from the latter, it retains formatting in WordPress best. Plus, I can get to it/edit on any device with the same formatting controls.

At the end of the day, my goal is to not be tied to any one device. If I need to do something and all that’s available is my phone, it should work. It’s not ideal, but doable.

What’s Your Process?

I speak to a lot of credit union marketing and social media folks (Cleaned up for 2020!). They each have their own process for engaging members. I hope this post can help you decide on the best tools for your task.

Light Bulb Chalkboard

On your system, you may want things like chatbots to help serve members. Internally, different data analytics (Updated for 2020!) can assist in better engaging opportunities.

Just remember, tools are only as good as their user. I await the AI platform which writes, formats, hosts, and publicizes creative insights into the credit union industry.

Of course, then I won’t be the Credit Union Geek anymore. Unless that has already happened…

immersion18: Empowering CUs of Tomorrow, Today

Be sure to read my on-site roundup of conference happenings as a prelude to this article. Additionally, look back to May 10 on my Twitter feed to see live contributions.

“They have hammocks on the beach?” asked one attendee, as another gleefully nodded. They made it to future sessions, worry not.

With the blue-green Atlantic waters as backdrop, the Trellance Immersion18 conference enjoyed a productive debut. Despite the team having hosted an annual event for nearly 30 years, this one was different. It was the first following a name, mission, and organizational change. Remember CSCU? They’re no more. In their place, Trellance, a not-for-profit credit union service organization, or CUSO. As credit unions’ unbiased advocate, their new focus was a perfect fit for the event.

Trellance CEO Tom Davis opened the first morning session surrounded by a technologically-infused dance number, complete with spinning displays and more. Despite being before many attendees’ coffee addictions were satiated, the audience sounded their approval. Then it got exciting. Davis introduced Trellance, lauding its unbiased advocate role as well as its not-for-profit status, and passed the baton to Bill Lehman.  Lehman reviewed how Trellance evolved from CSCU, helping set credit union staff expectations for the days ahead. And if you thought it was thrilling already, the next speaker was downright explosive. David Lott, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, spoke of the newest “trend” to enter this country: Exploding ATMs.

After discussing strategies to diffuse the threat (there’s no one solution, which really should be the theme of the conference), Mollie Bell, CUNA’s Chief Engagement Officer, took the stage with fierce focus. On strategy, that is. CUNA did a great write-up on her talk, which essentially challenged attendees to define who they were and what that meant about their target audience. Then make a plan that rocks your socks off. Ok, she didn’t say that, but she did include a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” for aspiration.

You won’t need a bigger boat when this shark enters the room. Daymond John, founder of FUBU clothing, Shark Tank star, and more, joined us to share his 5 SHARK points (see picture). More in my other roundup.

A common theme in the conference was fraud and security, both for your institution and members. The latter has become a daunting challenge. Why? In the past, you secured a single path for financial data. Then, members could access it on their computer from home. Now, all financial information is expected to be available from any device (including voice assistants), any where (including that FreeWiFiConnectNowIWontStealYourStuffnetwork down the street), at any time. Many more places for information to be compromised.

A conference-favorite was the Dark Web session. The team from Q6 Cyber hooked up their secured connection, loaded up their Tor browser, and went shopping. For your members’ financial data. Or a hit man. Or an ATM skimmer. All available with Prime shipping! (I kid, but only slightly). Please do not try this at home.

Other criminals use far lower-tech solutions, including one called “friendly fraud”. CUBroadcast spoke with Trellance’s Lou Grilli about this technique, amongst other topics. TL;DR: Fraud comes in a lot of forms. Keeping current on how to detect and minimize them is essential. And you need a WISP (Written Information Security Policy). Embrace your WISP. Update your WISP. When, not if, (according to Michele Cohen) your system is compromised in some way, you’ll be happy there’s a plan. Because restoration will take 4-6x longer than your IT team expects. It’s not a diss, it’s just the reality. The more prepared you are, the sooner you can serve your members at 100%.

My personal favorite session of the conference was hosted by John Best of Best Innovation Group. It discussed that buzzword you keep hearing but just don’t quite understand: Blockchain. Attendees get it. You can, too. Just ask me, or go straight to the source. Everything you think it might be? It’s more. And less. Here’s an overly simplified explanation:

  • Have someone hand another person $1.
  • Observe them doing it.
  • You are the distributed ledger verifying that it happened.
  • Now, put that dollar in an envelope. Boom, it’s encrypted.

Combine this with a decentralized system (meaning, one source broadcasts the same data to many trusted destinations, which all save it independently) and you have the trappings of a revolution! There’s so much more to it, but let me leave you with a mind-blowing possibility blockchain could eventually offer: NO MORE PASSWORDS!

Unfortunately, I can only report on sessions I attended. With more than 20 breakouts, everyone had an opportunity to gain enormous insights. No doubt, there are great ideas being shared by attendees at their credit unions around the country.

You want more? How about the sweet rock music anthems for every speaker and gathering (thanks to Lou Grilli for the playlists)? Or that time when Davis became the pistil of a dance troupe’s flower? Perhaps the living statue who could make the fountain come out her fingers? Or the walking tree? Oh, I see, you want to know about the extra-tall LED-lighted robot dancers at the final party. Sorry, what happens at the after-party stays at the after-party.

I’d like to thank the entire team at Trellance as well as all speakers for producing a memorable event stuffed to the gills with useful take-home info.

About Trellance:
Born out of nearly 30 years of payments experience and a passion for the credit union movement, Trellance is committed to providing innovative yet simple solutions to help credit unions adapt and thrive in a complex and competitive landscape. Together we can build and implement strategies to seize the exciting future of our industry.

Learn more about us at Trellance.com, visit us at thepaymentsreview.com for industry insights and our perspective on the future, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @Trellance.

Image description: Attendees receiving their Exceptional Member Initiative Awards. Credit: Me.

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